How to Create a Successful Non-Profit Email Welcome Series

February 13, 2018

Email welcome series are an invaluable tool in the inventory of non-profits. They deliver personal emails that can increase engagement, encourage donations and let supporters know what important work your organization is doing. Successful welcome series usually have a general structure that makes them effective so read on and adapt the below template to suit your organization.

Email 1: A welcoming thank you

The first email of a welcome series usually has the highest open rate of any email an organization will send. Constituents have shown an interest, are highly engaged and motivated to open the email. It’s important that you make a very good first impression if you’re going to either retain or covert your email list.

The first email new subscribers receive should:

  • Be welcoming, friendly and address them by name
  • Thank them for joining your organization
  • Introduce your organization
  • Let them know what kind of communications will follow
  • Introduce your social channels and encourage them to follow you
  • Email 2: A little about who you are

    Good news! You MAY have an engaged constituent but what do they really know about your organization? Faulty logic would have you assume that they know all about your non-profit. At this point, it is a good time to tell people more about your work in a support-centred way. As the following email will let people know how to get involved and encourage them to do so, it’s important that email 2 is supporter-focused. Try to leverage powerful data and statistics here – infographics are nice too.

    Email 3: Why you need your supporters help to make a difference

    The ask puts your supporters at the centre of your cause – they are the hero. Reinforce how vital they are by sharing a story. Beneficiary stories are a great way to give constituents a true-to-life example of the work your organization does. If beneficiary stories aren’t available, a donor story could work too. Link that success story to the impact that donors will make with their gift, and how other people affected can hopefully also see a successful outcome.

    Remember that this structure is not set in stone. If you have a wealth of great content to share, you can add or remove emails as necessary. Always keep your content relevant and current so your supporters will want to keep opening emails from your non-profit. Wherever possible, use compelling imagery of people (eye contact is even better) to grab attention and break up walls of text. And don’t forget to include a PS in each email, reiterating the ask found in the body, or a different ask as you see fit. Delivery timing varies by organization – do not set it and forget it: TEST! TEST! TEST! You don’t want to send too many in succession that your supporters feel overwhelmed, but not such a long gap that they forget about you.

    Best of luck to you!

    About the Author

    Karim has more than 10 years’ experience in the non-profit sector and is responsible for leading the implementation for many of hjc’s online projects. His skills involve, but are not limited to, business analysis and technology audits, strategic planning, project execution, and needs assessments.

    Karim draws on his experience as the Application Manager at Canadian Cancer society – National Office, where he managed the digital presence for online fundraising, independent fundraising events, third party events and electronic communication. His client list includes Trillium Health Partners Foundation, YWCA Calgary, and Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors without Borders Canada.